Kerosene and Oxygen Consumption

A fire must have oxygen or it will not burn. Every type of fuel that burns will use oxygen. The more Btu/hr and the more oxygen that is used. For example, a 10,000 btu/hr heater will use half the oxygen of a 20,000 btu/hr heater.

Homes are not totally air tight. Air comes in under the doors, through the windows, the chimney, and the walls. In some homes, you can actually feel an air current near the windows and doors. The air that comes into the home is called infiltration and it is normally adequate.

There are no specific standards for ventilation, but an unvented kerosene heater or stove will require more ventilation than a vented furnace. One Canadian Kerosene Association recommends four times as much ventilation, per hour, than a vented furnace.

Bottom Line
The bottom line is not to use an unvented kerosene appliance in a small room with doors and windows all the way shut. For example, you don't want to use kerosene in a small bedroom with the door shut. If the appliance is in a small room, you should make sure the door to an adjoining room is open and/or a window should be open by about an inch. Most people use kerosene appliances as an addition to their other heating furnace. They may also use them for portability. For disaster preparedness, kerosene is a great choice for its low cost, and easy operation. You can always vent the kerosene appliance and that will change it so that it operates like a regular home stove or furnace.